Jan. 6, 2015
- Read the latest issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPad/iPhone app!
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s January edition of Hawk Talk Monthly, the UI athletics department’s online publication.
By MEGAN ROWLEY
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After months of training, head coach Larissa Libby and the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team are ready to put their plans into practice.
“Consistency and mentality,” said Libby. “You can have all of the skill in the world and the determination to be successful, but without a level of focus and mental ferocity, you will most certainly falter.”
“We have emphasized this idea throughout every practice and in almost everything we do. We want to establish a base from which to grow and attempt to keep moving forward.”
The GymHawks have an advantage heading into 2015, returning five student-athletes that competed at 2014 NCAA Regionals.
“The experience of being there and knowing what it will take to get the entire team to qualify is important,” said Libby. “It was devastating to have not qualified as a team last season, so those five will lead the charge in identifying what went wrong and how not to be in that situation again.”
While individuals found success in the 2014 postseason, Libby hopes for the team to advance this season, something the Hawkeyes accomplished for six-straight years prior to last season.
“The goal is always to have a good finish within the conference. I believe you need to establish yourself consistently within the conference so that you will be recognized on the national scene. The Big Ten is extremely competitive this year with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland,” said Libby.
“Finishing in the top three would be a huge boost for our team. Last season we qualified several individuals to the first round of the national tournament, which was incredible, but the goal is to qualify the team, not individuals.”
Six newcomers grace the roster and are already showing their potential.
“This is a pretty incredible group of freshmen and I feel blessed to have them as part of our team. They have all bought into the philosophy of the program and work hard every day to meet or surpass expectation,” said Libby.
“They all possess a little something special that they bring to the team that is unique to them. The thing that I like most about this group is that each of them is so different but they are united by the one thing they have in common…gymnastics. They are usually the last ones in the gym and the first to push for more.”
To add to the excitement of the season, the University of Iowa Department of Intercollegiate Athletics approved the renovation and expansion of the women’s gymnastics practice facility located in the UI Field House. The project is expected to be finished in February, 2015.
“We are ecstatic. Construction has already begun so it has been quite exciting to witness the changes,” said Libby. “The new facility will provide an instantaneous boost to our overall program in terms of improved training and recruiting.”
The Hawkeyes open the 2015 season Friday at No. 3 LSU. The event is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. (CT).